Q+A: New Music Audience Exchange CRO on Bringing Experience From Rolling Stone

In his new role at Dallas-based MAX, Michael Provus says he's building out the platform "to become the single source for connecting all brands, artists, and music-related media to scale the partnerships of the future."

[Photo: Music Audience Exchange on Youtube]

First, he held a c-suite position for a major publishing house that writes about music. Now, he’s at the top of a platform that’s branding the music.

Meet Michael Provus: The former chief revenue officer for Wenner Media, and the new CRO of Dallas-based MAX.

Michael Provus

Michael Provus

“As publisher and then CRO at Rolling Stone I concentrated my efforts on building relationships at F500 companies across the country,” Provus says. “I will be bringing those relationships to my new role at MAX, which is focused on major F500 brands, especially those in the auto, liquor and beer, and consumer electronics categories.”

MAX, or Music Audience Exchange, is a music tech company that uses data science to pair big name brands with artists in cycle, whether they’re on tour or releasing new albums.

It works like this: Using an Artist Matching Engine, MAX uses neural networks to analyze demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral attributes of audiences, and then map musical preferences. The brand’s target audience attributes are plugged into a database of 1.8M artists of 865 genres, then filtered down to show artists whose fans have intent to purchase from the brand.

After identifying the brand’s goals for a campaign and the right artists for those goals, Provus says MAX then manages and delivers on all aspects of the campaign.

“We reach 98 percent of fans in the places they’re already going to for music—including paid promotion, the artists’ owned channels, and through earned coverage,” he says. “Leveraging first-party data to inform a targeted content strategy, we create, capture, and distribute all four music content types: audio, video, social, and live.”

To delve deeper into what MAX does and how Provus is going to bring his music industry experience to the company, Dallas Innovates spoke with the CRO on the technology, what’s on-deck, and being a gamechanger.

[Photo: Music Audience Exchange on Youtube]

Why did you decide to leave publishing for a music tech platform?

The traditional publishing space is changing more rapidly than any other and facing huge demand to prove Return on Investment. In publishing, editors can pair brands and artists, but they are doing it with A-list artists and it is not a data-driven process. MAX uses real data to filter through the 1.8 million artists in its database and identify the right artist for each brand’s campaign. Moreover, MAX isn’t focused on the A-list artists; it is giving exposure to up-and-coming and emerging artists and enabling brands tap into those artists’ highly engaged fan bases.

How can your experience at Wenner Media help with your new role?

As someone who has been in the music industry for many years, I not only have the sales and marketing expertise MAX was looking for, but I can also understand and appreciate how the business is evolving and convey that to the brands.

What do you think the future looks like for the music marketing space?

Not only are consumers over-inundated with advertisements, they have come to expect personalization. Brands are increasingly focusing on using behavioral and real-time data to provide more personalized and authentic connections through music rather than just signing on the big names. Brands that don’t deliver on relevance will just fall into the category of more noise. Engagement and measurable trust have become more important metrics than campaign reach.

Why do you consider MAX a gamechanger for the music promotion business?

While everyone today is talking about big data and post-campaign analytics, MAX really does have the technology and data to show campaign results like brand lift and engagement metrics. It is the first company to take a data-first approach to music promotion. MAX is focused on using music to connect brands to the consumers that will actually buy their products.

What’s on-deck?

We are continuing to rapidly build out our data and technology platform to become the single source for connecting all brands, artists, and music-related media to scale the partnerships of the future. With over 7 million new music releases coming in just the next year alone, and music consumption rising 53 percent in just the last 3 years…there’s plenty of opportunity for growth in the space, and we’re excited to see both brands and artists realize the benefits of owning these cultural moments with fans. For now we are focused on continuing to serve our incredible clients and partners, and spreading the word about MAX.

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